The top UTSA football players you need to know for the 2016 season.
RB Jarveon Williams, Sr.
Williams entered the Roadrunner history books in 2015 by becoming the school’s first-ever 1,000-yard rusher. Without a lot of support, he averaged six yards and scored eight times on 173 carries. Williams is a squat and powerful 5-10, 220-pounder, with the low center of gravity and nonstop leg drive to plow through tacklers. In No. 2, former UTSA head man Larry Coker saw shades of Barry Sanders, who the coach had at Oklahoma State in the late 1980s.
SS Michael Egwuagu, Sr.
Egwuagu continues to make the transition from raw athlete to all-star contender out of the secondary. He’s improved each season at UTSA, culminating in last fall’s 62 tackles, 3.5 stops for loss, three picks and five passes defended that netted All-Conference USA honorable mention. Egwuagu is a hard-hitting, fleet-footed 6-0, 220-pounder who does a good job of wrapping up in the open field.
DE Marcus Davenport, Jr.
Kevin Strong will vex blockers from the left side. Davenport, meanwhile, is the program’s disruptor from the hybrid end-strongside linebacker spot. He delivered a breakout sophomore season, earning honorable mention All-Conference USA with 49 stops, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. And much more is expected from the 6-6, 235-pound local product of San Antonio. The new staff is determined to transform Davenport from elite athlete to a complete football player.
DE Kevin Strong Jr., Soph.
In Strong, the Roadrunners have a bedrock performer that the front wall will build around over the next few years. He’s uncommonly athletic for a 6-3, 290-pounder, and his drive and work ethic are among the best on the team. Strong chipped in 31 tackles, 6.5 stops for loss and 2.5 sacks in his debut, the opening act of one of the league’s top young gap-busters.
QB Dalton Sturm, Jr.
Sturm provided a little spark off the bench for the necrotic UTSA offense last year. He’s hoping that experience gives him a leg up in the competition to be Frank Wilson’s first quarterback in San Antonio. Sturm earned a scholarship with his effort, which included 575 pre-sack rushing yards. However, while scrappy and competitive, the 6-2, 200-pounder is a middling passer who completed 125-of-212 throws for 1,354 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven picks.
FS Nate Gaines, Jr.
Among defensive backs in 2015, Gaines was one of Conference USA’s better run defenders, notching 76 tackles in only 10 games. He also had three interceptions and six pass breakups, though pass coverage is an area for potential improvement in 2016. The athletic Gaines is 6-2 and 190 pounds, with the length to add more weight for when he rushes downhill to support the Roadrunner front seven in run D.
WR Kerry Thomas Jr., Jr.
New head coach Frank Wilson will face a bunch of personnel problems in his first year. His receivers, though, have a shot to be pretty good. The Roadrunners could be formidable on the outside with JaBryce Taylor and Thomas, who led the 2015 team with 52 grabs for 541 yards and four scores. Thomas earned honorable mention, yet climbing higher on the league ladder requires fewer drops and more downfield plays.
WR JaBryce Taylor, Sr.
The well-traveled Taylor, whose career has included stops at SMU and Navarro (Tex.) Junior College, enjoyed a solid start in San Antonio. In his Roadrunner debut, he caught 29 passes for 472 yards and three touchdowns to post the highest per-catch average on the team. At 6-2 and 220 pounds, Taylor has the size to create advantages, which UTSA will want to leverage more in 2016.
LB Marcos Curry, Jr.
Curry played a lot of football last season in San Antonio. He was one of the most active Roadrunner defenders, finishing third on the team with 74 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks. Curry isn’t very big, just 5-11 and 220 pounds. But that safety size allows him to cover more of the field, especially in coverage and on blitzes. Curry is battling junior La’Kel Bass for the weakside job.
OG Kyle McKinney, Jr.
McKinney is attempting to become one of the new leaders of an O-line that lost its right side to graduation. The junior will have the luxury of experience now that he has a season as a starter under his belt. While the 6-4, 315-pounder won’t wow opposing linemen with his size or footwork, he’s a steady blocker who will not be outworked on Saturdays.